Tong Liu

Division of Social Science
Institute for Advanced Study
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clear Water Bay
Hong Kong

E-Mail: tliuaj@connect.ust.hk
Institutional Affiliation: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020Can Technology Solve the Principal-Agent Problem? Evidence from China’s War on Air Pollution
with Michael Greenstone, Guojun He, Ruixue Jia: w27502
We examine the introduction of automatic air pollution monitoring, which is a central feature of China’s “war on pollution.” Exploiting 654 regression discontinuity designs based on city-level variation in the day that monitoring was automated, we find that reported PM10 concentrations increased by 35% immediately post–automation and were sustained. City-level variation in underreporting is negatively correlated with income per capita and positively correlated with true pre-automation PM10 concentrations. Further, automation’s introduction increased online searches for face masks and air filters, suggesting that the biased and imperfect pre-automation information imposed welfare costs by leading to suboptimal purchases of protective goods.
August 2019The Unintended Impacts of Agricultural Fires: Human Capital in China
with Joshua S. Graff Zivin, Yingquan Song, Qu Tang, Peng Zhang: w26205
The practice of burning agricultural waste is ubiquitous around the world, yet the external human capital costs from those fires have been underexplored. Using data from the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) and agricultural fires detected by high-resolution satellites in China during 2005 to 2011, this paper investigates the impacts of fires on cognitive performance. To address the endogeneity of agricultural fires, we differentiate upwind fires from downwind fires. We find that a one-standard-deviation increase in the difference between upwind and downwind fires during the exam decreases the total exam score by 1.42 percent of a standard deviation (or 0.6 point), and further decreases the probability of getting into first-tier universities by 0.51 percent of a standard deviati...

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